A Meiji Era Large, Pieced Silk Drawstring Bag: Botanical Dyes
late nineteenth century
8" x 13" x 13", 20 cm x 33 cm x 33 cm
This is a good-sized, hand pieced and hand stitched silk drawstring bag that is composed of recycled, completely botanically dyed silks. The silks are mainly crepe pieces.
The main colors of the bag are of blue (indigo), orange (safflower) and purple (gromwell root). There are some other pieces of jacquard woven silks with lacquered threads which seem to be taken from some kind of ecclesiastical silk cloth.
The bag is formed as a hexagon and most of the component pieces of the bag are also shaped as hexagons: this is significant in the Japanese world as this shape suggests tortoise shell which conveys the thought of the tortoise and its association with long life.
Each of the "corners" on the bottom of the bag show a small tassel; the loops of the drawstring are almost all intact, however a few are broken so the bag does not close properly. The cord which is twisted from long narrow scraps of silk,is probably not original to the bag.
The bag is entirely lined in very pale yellow dyed cotton which is hand spun and hand woven.
A remarkably good piece-constructed bag from old Japan.